FOX 32 NEWS - Mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking heat for the skyrocketing murder rate in Chicago.
Now, he's apparently taking new steps to stop the violence, signing off a plan to hire hundreds of more police officers.
After a month of August that saw 70 homicides and with the city on a pace for 700 murders by the end of the year, Mayor Emanuel has apparently decided to respond by beefing up the size of the police force.
"I have a fundamental view that I've worked with Superintendent Eddie Johnson putting more police on the street. And getting our youth, guns and gangs off the street,” Emanuel said.
The mayor wouldn't say how many police he plans to hire, but the Chicago Sun-Times quotes a mayoral ally as saying it could be in the hundreds.
Right now, there are a little over 12-thousand officers on the force. But that number has been falling in recent years and could drop dramatically with an impending wave of retirements.
So, where does the city get the money to hire more cops?
"The fact is there are certain fiscal conditions that have improved in the city. As you noticed the other day Fitch for the first time upgraded the city's outlook financially. So we'll be able to do things that before we were hamstrung,” Emanuel said.
20th Ward Alderman Willie Cochran, a retired Chicago police officer, told FOX 32 that the news is welcome but the city needs at least a thousand new cops.
"When you take into consideration that there's gonna be more attrition at the end of the year, we need to keep up with that attrition and then add some,” Cochran said.
Mayor Emanuel wouldn't talk about the details of his plan, saving it for what he's calling a major address on public safety later this month. But he says adding more police is just part of the solution.
"Fundamentally it's not just about more police. It will include that. But it's also about more resources for our children, more resources for our neighborhoods and stiffer laws that reflect the values of the city,” Emanuel said.